9 FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE CHOOSING A BALER
Like any other packaging equipment, there are a few things you need to consider before making a decision when it comes to get a new compression bagger equipment.
1. Type of material
Start by defining the type of material you need to handle. Each product has its characteristics and reacts differently to compression. This information can be very useful to decide whether you need a vertical or horizontal baler, a form-fill-seal (FFS) or four station baler.
Material having a big spring back effect (tendency to return to its original shape) such as peat moss will be more easily compressed in a vertical baler. Horizontal balers will require a certain cohesion between the fibers, as in wood shavings and cellulose.
For harder to compress materials, you may want to look for balers with features such as higher compression force, double compression, stabilization time. Keep in mind that a FFS baler is more sensitive to the material than a four station baler.
2. Type of packaging
Whether you intend to pack material using ready-made bags or flat film will definitely guide you on the type of baler you need. Flat film is an economical packaging material for long production of one bag size. However, a four station baler’s ready-made bags are more easily and quickly changed/refilled than the film roll of a FFS baler.
If you plan to produce more than one bale size, look for a baler with simple and easy bag size adjustments. Some balers have easier changeovers than others, and some, like horizontal balers, can only handle a single bag size.
3. Production capacity
Think about what you want to achieve in terms of production rate. Though the production rate varies from one type of baler to the next, the nature of the material and the package size are what will mostly influence the output. Hard to compress materials and bigger bag sizes will require more cycle time, thus resulting in a lower production rate no matter the type of baler.
4. Machine sturdiness
Depending on the handled material and the working conditions in the plant (very dusty environment, low temperatures, long production hours), you may need a heavy-duty equipment. Make sure the baler is designed and manufactured for your type of material and environment. Some machines, like a four station baler, are specially designed to run 24 hours a day year round and to handle hard to compress materials.
5. Safety for the operator
Operator safety is of course a priority so it’s important to have an idea of the safety devices included in the equipment. Some suppliers give more importance to this aspect than others. Look for machines equipped with safety fences, interlocked doors and movement detection devices that stop the machine when an access to a danger zone is required. Injuries can be very costly for a company so a safe equipment can help minimizing these costs to the lowest.
6. Available space
A compression bagger is usually bigger than most bagging equipment. Evaluating the available space in your plant is essential when choosing your baler. Horizontal balers will tend to have a bigger footprint while vertical balers will require more space in terms of height.
Needless to say, thinking about your budget is primordial. While it may seem like a huge investment, getting a new equipment may increase your productivity and bring you better results with less maintenance. Calculating your ROI is important to know how long your investment will pay off.
8. After-sales service and local support
Look for a supplier that will be able to build a long-term relationship with you and that has offices or a support team in your local area. It can be a game changer when you need technical service or spare parts quickly. Choose a supplier that is always trying to get new technology that could help you update your equipment by retrofitting without having to buy a new one if not necessary.
9. Supplier’s experience
Does your supplier have some expertise in this industry? Is that company a benchmark in the industry? Get information about the past experience of the supplier you’re looking for. Choosing a supplier who had other customers handling the same product and dealing with the same challenges than you might be judicious.